1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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Structure of Decision-making
The ministry in charge of youth is the Ministry of Education and Research. The department in the ministry responsible for youth is the Department of Youth and Talent Policy. Department acting in three areas: youth work, hobby education and talent policy.
Main goals of the department are as following:
- Developing legislation to ensure the appropriate legislative environment for implementing youth policy.
- Ensuring purposefulness and consistency in the implementation of youth policy.
- Planning of resources necessary for the implementation of youth policy.
- Ensuring cohesiveness of youth policy.
- Holding a public dialogue with partners to come to a social agreement on questions pertaining to youth policy.
The main tasks of the Department of Youth and Talent Policy are to ensure the design and organization of the implementation of the national youth, talent, hobby and non-formal education policy and the planning and organization of the implementation of youth work.
To succeed in achieving the goals listed above, the department carries out a range of tasks. The main task of the department is to arrange activities pertaining to youth policy and youth at the Ministry of Education and Research and to consult the Minister and other ministerial officials in youth policy and youth work-related themes.
Since 1st of August 2020, the national agency responsible for the implementation of education and youth policy, is the Education and Youth Board. The institution was established on the basis of the services of Innove Foundation, Archimedes Foundation, Information Technology Foundation for Education and incorporated Estonian Youth Work Centre. Starting from 01.01.2021, the Foundation Archimedes Youth Agency was joint with the Education and Youth Board, and it became the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (NA for the Erasmus+ programme - cooperation regarding the financial support to youth projects from Erasmus+ programme; increasing the possibilities of international cooperation and the usage of its results; increasing the professionalization of youth workers, including through the development of level education and trainings and monitoring the competences; supporting the activities and sustainable development of the NA).
The Ministry of Education and Research implements a strategic partnership plan for policy development and implementation. Ministry sets up a call for partners in a particular policy field for implementation of strategic measures once in three years.
In 2022 MoER decided to run a joint steering committee for the management of the youth sector development plan and education strategy. The members of the committee are: the Ministry of Education and Research (secretary general, chairman), the Ministry of Finance (local government policy department), the Ministry of Culture (undersecretary for cultural diversity), the Ministry of Econimic Affairs and Communications (industry adviser), the Ministry of Social Affairs (deputy secretary general for work policy), the Ministry of Environment (budget and strategic planning department), the Ministry of Rural Affairs (R&D department), Ministry of the Interior (undersecretary for population facts and civil society), the Ministry of Justice (criminal policy department, analysis division), the Government Office (strategy unit), the only representative of youth field - National Youth Council, Estonian Language Advisory Commettee, Estonian Chamber of Disabled People, The Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities, Estonian Employers' Confederation, The Estonian Chamber of Commerce, Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, Estonian Trade Union Confederation. Involved experts: Ain Tõnisson, Anne Kivimäe, Ede Schank Tamkivi, Emöke Sogenbits, Mario Mäeots, Triin Lauri ja Uku Varblane. Steering committee tasks are: 1) make recommendations on the basis of the progress report related to the development plans for the initiation, modification, or termination of programs related to the implementation of the objectives of the development plans, 2) make proposals for evaluations and the development of plans, 3) provide an assessment of the proposal to amend and terminate the strategies, 4) performance of the functions of the sectoral committee for EU structural Funds in the field of education and youth, ie issuing opinions and making recommendations regarding the use of European Union support, 5) planning of EU Structural Funds and advising on implementation, 6) involve the youth policy working group in committees work; 7 and 8) fulfill other duties arise from the minister or legal acts.
Extra to that subcommittee on Youth Policy was also established including members from the Association of Estonian Open Youth Centers, Estonian Association of Art Schools, The Estonian Association of Youth Workers, The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement, Estonian Association for Science Education, Estonian School Student Councils' Union, Federation of Estonian Student Unions, Youth associations of Estonian Defence League, NGO Changemakers, Estonian 4H, Statistics Estonia, VeniVidiVici. The task of the youth policy subcommittee is to support the work of the steering committee with sectoral know-how.
According to the Local Government Organisation Act, the local governments have a key role in organizing the topics related to local life, including youth work. Most of the financing of youth work comes also from the budget and own income of the local municipalities.
Cooperation with other organizations
The main partners in the overall implementation of the youth policy are as following:
- the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance - cooperation regarding the new support scheme to increase the participation of young people in youth work, including hobby education and activities;
- the Association Estonian Open Youth Centres - cooperation regarding the support to open youth work centres on local level and services for NEET-youth; cooperation regarding the creation of the opportunities for youth workers to get consulting and support; cooperation regarding the support for the development of the youth information system;
- the Ministry of Interior - cooperation regarding the prevention policy and the development of civil society;
- the Ministry of Social Affairs (labor market policy sector) and Töötukassa (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund) - cooperation regarding labor market policy for young people, including information and early working experience, as well as work with hard-to-reach youth;
- the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs - cooperation regarding the development of methods to prevent, intervene and rehabilitate youth risk behaviour. See also the programme "Children and Youth at Risk";
- the Ministry of Social Affairs (child and family policy sector) - cooperation regarding child participation, ensuring the well-being of the children, and the juvenile committees;
- the Eesti Noorsootöötajate Kogu (Association of Estonian Youth Workers) - cooperation regarding the creation of the opportunity for youth workers to get consulting and support;
- the Estonian National Youth Council - cooperation regarding the support for the sustainable development of traditional forms of youth participation in decision-making, and the development of the funding system of annual support for youth organizations;
- the Estonian National Youth Council and the Association Estonian Open Youth Centres - cooperation regarding the development and support for new possibilities for the young people's participation;
- the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Justice - cooperation regarding ensuring the compliance with the principles of the development plan in the implementation of measures in policy fields the ministries are responsible for;
- the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - cooperation regarding the development of e-services for youth and youth entrepreneurial spirit.
The main themes in the Youth Sector Development Plan 2021-2035 (Noortevaldkonna arengukava 2021-2035) are creativity and entrepreneurship development, social inclusion, active participation in the society and decision-making, safety of youth, quality youth policy and development of youth work. The choice of themes was based on the particular situation of the youth, youth field and the challenges in the society. All fields of priorities as defined at the EU level youth policies, are covered by the National Youth Strategy on the level of principles, horizontal topics or particular measures. Many topics are also covered by other strategies, for example, the the Vision of the Civil Society Programme 2030, the Welfare Development Plan 2016-2023, Education Sector Development Plan 2021-2035 (under adoption) etc.
The main target group for the Youth Sector Development plan is according to the Youth Work Act young people aged 7-26.
The National Agency for Youth
The National Agency for Youth Policy and Youth Work is a government agency, the Education and Youth Board, formed 01.08.2020, under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research. The institution was established on the basis of the services of Innove Foundation, Archimedes Foundation, Information Technology Foundation for Education and incorporated Estonian Youth Work Centre (former National Agency for Youth Policy and Youth Work).
The Education and Youth Board has a wide range of tasks for the implementation of education and youth policy. Other tasks of the authority are as following:
- participates in the legislation process, organizes the implementation and advice within its competence and gives instructions of the obligations and rights based on the legislation;
- provides and develops study counselling services;
- creates and develops national curriculas for basic, general, and vocational education, advises educational institutions on the implementation of the national curriculum and updating the curriculas of educational institutions;
- organizes the preparation and distribution of study materials;
- organizes the external evaluation of the studies quality and educational institutions;
- carries out external assessments of study results, organizes international foreign language examinations, and, within the limitations of authority, issues certificates and orders and distributes forms of graduation certificates and assessment sheets;
- prepares and organizes examinations of knowledge of the Estonian Constitution and the Citizenship Act, and proficiency tests in the Estonian language;
- organizes, develops, monitors, and analyzes the services of youth field and youth work;
- advises youth work organizers on planning and organizing youth work;
- performs tasks related to the fields of hobby education and hobby activities, including analyzes the usage of the financial support and achievement of goals;
- assesses foreign qualifications enabling access to higher education and certifying higher education;
- implements the European Union Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programs;
- acts as an innovation and competence center in the fields of education and youth;
- promotes Estonian education and youth work;
- manages and develops the information systems and technological solutions of the authority's main acting fields, creates and tests educational technological developments, and supports their usage;
- provides international data communication services to educational and research institutions;
- provides and mediates scholarships, grants, awards, and recognitions in the fields of education and youth;
- performs the functions of the chief or authorized processor of the database in the case provided by law or on the basis thereof;
- participates in the preparation of national and European level education and youth programs;
- represents the authority in court within the limits of its competence;
- performs other functions arising from legislation.